Anchor Pullers

What is an anchor puller and how does it work?

You're out on the water a lot - fishing, crabbing, shrimping or even just anchoring for fun. Raising your anchor or pots is not your favorite task, but it's something that's part of every outing. You may have seen a boat or two pulling a buoy behind their boat when raising their anchor and you are wondering how that system works. You may have heard your friends say that they use an anchor puller to raise their anchor and you're wondering what is an anchor puller?

Let's try to explain an anchor puller so that you can determine if it is right for you. Here are your anchor pulling choices.

Option 1: Pulling your anchor up hand over hand

This method's been around forever. It works but it is tedious and can lead to back strain. Even if you’ve got a young nephew to do this for you, some say it's not worth the effort.

Option 2: An Electric Anchor Windless

Electric Windlesses have been around for a while and there are a number of good brands out there. Electric windlesses can be pricy, typically running in the $thousands for a full system with wiring bow roller. With a windless you are able to control the anchor retrieval from the bow and you avoid the physical effort of pulling up the anchor hand over hand. For heavy anchors and big boats an electric anchor windless may be the way to go.

Option 3: The Anchor Puller

A third choice is an anchor puller, or as it is sometimes called, an anchor retrieval system. The anchor puller consists of a metal or plastic mechanism, sometimes a line, and a buoy. The mechanism slips over the anchor line and the buoy provides the buoyancy to float the anchor to the surface - it's pretty simple and pretty inexpensive.

There are two basic types of anchor pullers, one is a simple ring with a buoy attached via a line (ring style), and the other incorporates a sliding bolt or mechanism that prevents the line from spooling out after the anchor has been pulled to the surface (bolt style).

The anchor puller ring style is most commonly used offshore with anchor lines rigged with at least 10-15 feet of chain. The ring can be clipped to the anchor line when you are ready to raise your anchor, otherwise the system in not attached to the anchor line.

The anchor puller bolt style is most commonly used in rivers and lakes, but is also used offshore with crab and shrimp pots. The bolt style works best with anchor lines rigged with less than 10 feet of chain and is typically on the anchor line when anchoring and in the anchored position.

How do the Anchor Pullers work?

Anchor Puller Ring Style

When you are ready to raise your anchor simply clip the ring to your anchor line. Motor forward (at about 5 knots) at a 30 degree angle to your anchor line being careful not to run over the line. As you come even with the anchor you should feel the anchor break free - if this does not occur stop and go back to free the anchor. You will continue to motor forward after the anchor breaks free dragging the buoy behind the boat and pulling

the line through the ring. The buoyancy of the buoy will float the anchor to the surface. Once the anchor has reached the ring you can turn back toward the buoy and pull in your slack anchor line. The weight of the anchor chain should counterbalance the weight of the anchor to prevent the anchor from spooling back to the bottom.

Anchor Puller Bolt Style

The bolt style is threaded onto the anchor line before anchoring. Be sure to knot the bitter end of the line so that the anchor line cannot slip through the anchor puller. When ready to anchor follow these steps.

1. Hold the anchor puller in your hand with the sliding bolt in the up position.

2. Let the anchor line slide through the puller until the anchor reaches the bottom and you are in the desired anchoring position (with adequate anchor rode).

3. Throw the anchor puller into the water so that the buoy is floating off the bow. (Image 1)

When raising the anchor simply:

4. Motor forward around the anchor being careful not to run over the anchor line. (Image 2)

5. As you go past the anchor you should feel the anchor break free. Continue to motor forward at about 5 knots pulling the buoy behind the boat. (Image 3)

6. When the anchor reaches the buoy turn around and pull in your slack anchor line. The sliding bolt will hold the anchor at the surface.

The anchor puller bolt style can be used equally well to pull up crab or shrimp pots.

When using either anchor puller here are few guidelines to follow.

The anchor puller ring style is commonly used off the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts. A typical anchor ring anchor retriever comes rigged with a variety of buoys.

The bolt style anchor puller is commonly used by salmon and sturgeon fishermen in the Pacific Northwest rivers, by catfishermen in the rivers in the Midwest and South, and by fishermen and crabbers in British Columbia and Alaska. The AnchorLift and AnchorLift Pro systems are two of the most popular systems available. The AnchorLift video below shows just how the AnchorLift works.

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